I’ve always been fascinated by rock walls. They are big puzzles really. I love the different kinds of rock, the way they fit together, how the colors work together. My dream house would have a rock exterior.
When I see a rock wall (like the one in the picture I took at John Ball Zoo…this one is up on a hill, up a kazillion perilous steps, but worth the hike) I think about the work it took to put it together. The planning, the blood blisters (did you know I have an irrational fear of blood blisters?), the worn-out-back work of lifting all the rocks. I am awed by the craftsmanship it took to construct such a thing of use and beauty. If well maintained, those walls last a good long time.
The other day I printed out the first three chapters of the book I’m writing. I pulled out my trusty purple pen and grabbed a cup of coffee. Editing time.
For me, writing the first draft of something is like gathering the rocks and putting them into a pile. Editing is figuring out, over several swipes, which rocks will work and where they’ll fit best. It’s a process which cannot be rushed. It takes concentration. Sometimes a scene or character I thought was absolutely perfect just will not fit. I save it for another wall that I’ll build later on.
In my experience, novel writing is like building a wall with the hopes that it will be both useful and beautiful.
Luckily for me, writing doesn’t usually result in blood blisters.